Preparing the perfect CV fact sheet -
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Preparing a CV (a personal career history) is important for
sending to employers
- Keep it simple – an uncluttered document gets read before a fussy
one. Plain layout of your document will help the reader to see how much you
have to offer.
- Make it clear – direct language and straightforward sentences are
easy to read and understand.
- Keep it short – less is often more when it comes to a CV. Limit
it to two sides of A4 paper.
What to put in your CV
Standard CVs are usually split into a maximum of seven sections:
- Personal details
Includes name, address details, telephone and email addresses,
nationality. These are the facts about you and how to contact you.
Provides dates, names and locations of schools and colleges attended and
details of any qualifications that you may have obtained. This section
also outlines the subjects that you have studied.
Specifies dates, employers’ names and locations, job title and main
activities/achievements of each position held. It is normal to begin with
your current or most recent job.
- Other skills
Covers your other practical abilities or skills, including training courses
and other subjects studied e.g. languages.
Includes hobbies, sport and leisure activities.
- Additional information
Details other skills or type of work wanted. This section contains your statement
about the contribution you can make and what kind of person you are.
Names, addresses and full contact details of two people who will provide
character references for you.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do think about the kind of impression you want to convey to employers.
Spend time thinking about the skills and qualities that are seen as valuable
for the kind of position you are looking for.
- Do look at as many other people’s CVs as you can for inspiration
and use good examples that you see.
- Do get organised – it will help you prepare a better document in
- Do keep working on different drafts of your document until you are happy
- Do talk to people who have known you in different roles; they may come
up with tasks, activities and achievements that you had forgotten.
- Do check spelling and grammar if you are in any doubt about anything.
- Don’t leave writing your CV until you are in a hurry for it. The
best time to write it is when you don’t need it and can take the time
to get it right.
- Don’t underestimate the time you will need, especially if this is
your first attempt.
- Don’t hesitate! Get going on your first draft right now.
- Don’t start writing straight away – do some thinking and planning
first about how you want it to look.
- Don’t be too honest! We are aiming to minimise weaker areas and
promote your good points.
- Don’t include any information that does not add to the impact of
the finished CV.
Points to remember
- Keep positive. You need to feel upbeat in order to sell yourself in your
You will downplay your skills and experience if you write weak descriptions.
Show off all the talents you have – every other applicant will too.
- Enhance your creative thinking by getting your environment as congenial
as possible when you are working on the document.
- Stay motivated about the work involved in completing your CV. Think of
all the people who have CVs; they will all have had to go through this process
at some stage.
- How your CV looks is as important as what it contains. Make sure you spend
as long on the design and layout of your document as on its content.
- Consider having more than one version of your CV – you may need
different versions for different career possibilities.
Adapted from "Preparing your
own CV" by Rebecca Corfield, 5th Edition, published in 2009 ISBN No. 978-0-7494-5654-2
© Rebecca Tee 2010